And just like that, burn season has ended. Aside from the potential for sporadic fall burns, we've stopped putting fire on the ground for 2018, after covering a couple thousand acres of prescription. Seems like just yesterday I was stumbling through S-130, confused about what a firewhirl was, concerned about what PPE might feel like, and shaking out of my boots with excitement to get on the fire line. I guess that's how it always is: you get so caught up in arriving at the destination that you forget what the journey was like.
Now that it's come and gone, I'm left with a feeling that's at once empty and full. I'm hungry to learn more, to become better at laying down fire, and to move up through the ranks. At the same time, I lament over the little moments of embarrassment, the real learning moments. The time I left the vehicle without my helmet on, those few times I found myself zoned out staring at the flames, instead of paying attention to the task at hand... Being surrounded by such dedicated and impressive mentors means the bar is forever being set higher. Even once I've perfected my skills on the fire line, there's an unlimited amount to learn regarding the organization and implementation of burns, and even more to learn about researching their effects.
I guess this is all to say that, as quickly as burn season passed me by, it's heartening to know that this journey's only just begun. Whether I just continue to do prescribed burns or somehow find myself with a burning (ha) desire to become a wildland firefighter, I know I've sunk my teeth into something truly gratifying. Something as important as it is hardcore.